U prof: Debate on faculty productivity is ill informed

I’m at the University of Minnesota’s regular Board of Regents meeting.

Christopher Cramer, chairman of the faculty consultative committee, is discussing the problematic task of measuring faculty productivity.

He reads from his report:

With declining state support for most public research institutions, considerable debate has arisen as to what constitutes “productivity”, both at the institutional level and with respect to individual faculty and staff.

Much of that debate has been depressingly ill informed with respect to what faculty members actually do and how their wide array of scholarly, professional, and artistic activities contribute to the research, teaching, and public engagement missions of an institution like the University of Minnesota.

We expect key committees in faculty governance to devote some of their efforts this year to clarifying and explaining the values of these diverse activities, many of which cannot and should not naively be reduced to a single dollar- and-cents value, with the goal of moving the debate beyond cynical sound bites to a more informed, and informative, plane.